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Wisley

Wisley was 'Vickers' own airfield' in Surrey. It opened in 1943 as a dispersal site for Wellingtons built at Brooklands, but grew into a flight test centre, housing many military and civil flight test programs until its closure in 1972. The restricted runway at Weybridge led to the VC10's first flights all taking off from the factory site and landing at Wisley for further test flights. The larger runway at Wisley accomodated more heavily loaded VC10s (though still restricted to around 266,000 pounds take off weight), which also led to it being renamed 'RAF Wisley' for the 1969 Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race. For more about this airfield, have a look at this page on UK Airfields. In May 2019 Maurice Ungless was kind enough to guide me around the disused airfield and I have gathered some of the photographs from that afternoon on this page, together with some period photos showing the, now dismantled, hangars at the end of this page.


Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

1. The tracks in the concrete show where the hangar doors used to be. This was the front end of one of the extended bays of the newer hangar.
2. Looking back towards the entrance to the site, from the one bay that was not extended and which housed the VC10 structural test airframe.
3. The covered trench in the concrete carried pneumatic and electrical services throughout the hangars.
4. On the right: the foundation of the side wall of the large hangar, looking back towards the site entrance across this hangar.


Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

5. After walking from the hangar and apron to the end of runway 10, this is the view along the runway from the threshold.
6. A bit further along the runway are the remains of the touchdown markings.
7. Halfway along the runway on the South side is where the control tower and the flight test offices used to be.
8. A bit further down the runway, looking towards the runway 28 end of the strip.


Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

9. Same location, looking back towards the end of runway 10.
10. This is also where the other taxiway leads back from the middle of the runway towards the apron and hangars.
11. The engine detuners were halfway down this taxiway, on this stretch of concrete just off the taxiway.
12. Another parking spot just off this taxiway was also used for engine runs. The nearest houses can be seen in the distance on the left showing that the people who lived nearby (amongst them Brian Trubshaw) had to have a bit of patience when late night engine tests were needed.


Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

Photo J. Hieminga

13. Looking across the site of the apron and hangars from the end of the taxiway. The entrance to the airfield was straight ahead in the treeline.
14. Looking back towards the runway from the apron, with a tiedown point visible. The treeline wasn't there in the 1960s and now covers the location of the fuel storage.
15-16. An overview of where the photos were taken. On photo 15 the outlines of the larger hangar are visible on the concrete between arrows 1-4. The smaller hangar was on the right side of the apron, in the centre of the image.


Photo copyright BAE Systems / collection J. Hieminga

Photo copyright BAE Systems / Brooklands Museum archives

Photo BAE SYSTEMS / Brooklands Museum archives

Photo M. Ungless

17. The two hangars at Wisley are visible in the background of this take-off photo of G-ASGA.
18. The smaller, older hangars could not house a VC10. BUA 1-11 G-ASJF did fit in these bays.
19. Behind G-ASGM is the larger hangar. Two of the three bays were extended on the west (1963/4) and east (1962/3) side so that VC10s could fit inside. The one bay that was not extended, on the right of this photo, held the structural test airframe.
20. A BOAC Super VC10 (probably G-ASGG) and a Royal Air Force Transport Command VC10 (probably XR806) inside the larger hangar at Wisley late 1965.


Image J. Hieminga / Google
     

21. An overview of the two hangars and the use of the various bays during the 1950s/1960s. Prior to the extentions being added, the west hangar was used for Vanguard/Valiant development.

 

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